Read any good books lately? I'll bet you have. What did you do afterwards? Sigh in satisfaction, put it on the shelf, and hope that another one as good comes along? There are so many books in the world, but finding a really good one can sometimes be elusive. So when a good one comes along, why not return the favor to the author who took the time and trouble to entertain or educate you by supporting them. There are a number of ways you can do this -- some very simple -- and all would result in a grateful author who would hopefully be encouraged to do more equally good work.
1. Buy the Book
At the risk of sounding obvious, if you know a book is going to be good -- a keeper -- buy it. Don't borrow it or lend it. If someone else wants to read it based on your recommendation and you feel so inclined, buy them a copy as a gift.
2. Like Them
"Like" and "follow" them on social media. When you do, your contacts can see what you are reading, and it gives the author more exposure.
3. Visit Their Website
If they have an author website, they have put a lot of time and thought into it, and it didn't appear there for free even though you don't pay a dime to look at it. If they post a blog or newsletter subscription, sign up. It's very encouraging to them, and you might enjoy the occasional emails they send you. Also, if they invite commentary on their blogs, write a comment. Even "Interesting article, thanks," is encouraging. Again, they took the time and trouble, and it feels good to know someone cares.
4. Review The Book
Goodreads is one of the most popular book review sites, and many authors interact on the site. It is very influential to sales. Also Amazon and Barnes and Noble, the two largest online booksellers, rank books by a number of factors, including the number of customer reviews they receive. This is a really great way for aspiring writers to practice their writing skills, but even a few simple lines and an appropriate assignment of stars is appreciated.
5. Post Pictures Holding their Book
Authors love to see people with their books. It's what they live for. Go ahead, post it and send it to them if they offer their contact information. Oh, and why not leave a copy laying on your desk at work. It might get noticed and commented on.
6. Do a YouTube Video Review
Okay, this one's for extra credit. Not everybody can or will -- but if you do have it in your heart to post a video/commentary about a book on YouTube, it's a BIG WOW.
7. Write in the Book
This is my own personal favorite -- or maybe a personal quirk -- but when I read something that speaks to me or just sounds beautiful, I underline it. Sometimes I write in the margins. I might put a memory or a star or a smiley face. If it's something I want to remember, something important, something meaningful, writing in the book makes it stick and easy to refer back to. To me, when I find a used book that's been written in, I know it was loved, and I want to own that book. Even writing your name in cursive and the date on the inside page personalizes it and says you care. It's a beautiful touch that any author would be proud to see.
I hope this makes you think twice next time you pick up a good book. If it moves you, do more than just sigh. Take a next step. You might even get a response from an author, and how awesome would that be! Happy reading, and thanks on behalf of all the authors out there, for your support.